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A tax preparer differs from an accountant, bookkeeper or certified public accountant in that a tax preparer does not need a college degree. While tax preparers must have a high school diploma, they don't have to pass a licensing test in Florida. As of July 2017, Florida does not require tax preparers practicing in the state to be licensed, but there is legislation being considered. To become a tax preparer in Florida, you will need to attend a tax preparation school online or in person and pass tax preparation exams.
Research tax preparation duties and liabilities. Generally speaking, a tax preparer completes an individual’s 1040 form and state forms and submits them to the Internal Revenue Service with the tax preparer's tax preparation identification number. In Florida, there is no state income tax, but Florida residents must comply with the IRS code.
Tax preparers in Florida usually work for a tax consultation or preparation company such as Jackson Hewitt, H&R Block or Liberty Tax Service or may work for a CPA or tax attorney and the liabilities are placed on their employer.
Select a tax preparation school. There are tax preparation classroom courses and online courses offered by most national tax consultation/preparation firms such as H&R Block, Jackson Hewitt and Liberty Tax Service. Individuals who wish to become tax preparers in Florida generally have access to all three companies either online or in a classroom setting. You can also take online classes offered by the National Association of Tax Preparers (see Resources).
Join a national tax preparation association, such as the National Association of Tax Preparers, which is the largest and most recognized in the U.S.
Go to work as a tax preparer in Florida. Although there are no licensing requirements in Florida to be a tax preparer as of July 2017, you will still need to apply for filing privileges with the IRS. To get E-File privileges with the IRS, visit the IRS’s website and complete an e-file application (see Resources). If you are going to be a private tax preparer in Florida, you will need tax preparation software such as those offered by Intuit or Tax Works; these programs cost up to $600.
Owen Richason grew up working in his family's small contracting business. He later became an outplacement consultant, then a retail business consultant. Richason is a former personal finance and business writer for "Tampa Bay Business and Financier." He now writes for various publications, websites and blogs.